Mark Twain once observed, “Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” I‚Äôm writing a column about it, which, I suppose, is just about the same.
How bad is the current drought in California? Nothing special, just the worst in our state‚Äôs 164-year history. Even worse, many scientists fear we may be entering an era of “megadroughts,” which sounds like a bad horror movie. All of this to say, if you were thinking of getting your car washed maybe consider waiting until 2016.
Actually, climatologists report that the 2013-14 rainfall season is well on its way to becoming California‚Äôs driest period in more than 400 years. Speaking of which, I wonder who reported on the weather back then. It probably was the town crier ringing a bell who, four centuries later, would be known as a “climatologist.” (Minus the bell, of course.)
The drought is so bad a state emergency has been declared by Gov. Jerry Brown. (Who in 1975 was the sixth youngest governor in our history, in 2011 the oldest and in 2013 the longest serving; enough Jerry Brown trivia for 10 columns.)
On Wednesday, Brown unveiled a sweeping proposal aimed at water conservation and cleaning up drinking water supplies while increasing penalties for those illegally diverting water, all to the tune of $687 million. (And yet not a dime for rain dancers.)
The drought is even more unsettling given that much of the country has been buried in snow most of the winter. I have friends back east who are barely thawed out and counting the days until spring, but who worry that I‚Äôm walking around carrying a canteen living in a desert soon to be a dust bowl, or vice versa.
In the 1940s film noir days the hard-boiled reporter often carried a flask of whiskey. Being slightly soft-boiled, I‚Äôm more likely to carry vitamin water than booze. But given that the drought could extend for years, a canteen over my shoulder may be as commonplace as a laptop.
The only precipitation we‚Äôve had this year was basically nothing more than heavy dew. With all the talk of the Keystone Pipeline, how about one for water? Maybe it could run from NYC and Boston to Santa Monica so that we could have the luxury of flushing our toilets without guilt. (Sparing you the second half of the new bathroom mantra, the first half is, “If it‚Äôs yellow let it mellow.”)
What an eerie winter. Frankly, day after day of sunshine is depressing as our reservoirs slowly dry up. That and the extreme cold in much of the country, and the whole thing is like watching Al Gore‚Äôs “Inconvenient Truth,” right before our eyes. And yet nobody seems to care. They‚Äôre more interested in seeing Kate Upton in a bikini twirling weightless in space. (Actually, bad example because I liked that video clip myself, but you get my point.)
Personally, I‚Äôm convinced the drought is part of climate change; 97 percent of the world‚Äôs scientists agree but don‚Äôt say that to Sarah Palin, the former half- term governor of Alaska.
On Facebook, Palin questions global warming because it‚Äôs snowing in Alaska. Then again she has questioned that man descended from apes because there are still apes.
Keep in mind that Palin believes the world is 6,000 years old and claims to have seen photos of a dinosaur track that includes human footprints. To Palin this is incontrovertible proof that man and the dinosaur co-existed which, if true, would make “The Flintstones” a documentary.
Yes, gang, “experts” like Rush Limbaugh, and many on the right, consider climate change a hoax concocted by those who want one world government. (Or worse, Obamacare.)
This reminded me of when Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, in January 2013 and employing tough love, told members of the GOP “We‚Äôve got to stop being the stupid party.” Apparently some weren‚Äôt listening. Oh well.
But back to the drought and Santa Monica, I wondered what we as citizens could do to help alleviate the problem. I e-mailed Councilmember Kevin McKeown to get his take because, frankly, he‚Äôs seemingly up on everything.
Jokingly, Kevin e-mailed back referring to his days as a rock ‚Äòn‚Äô roll radio station general manager. “I was running KROQ back in the late ‚Äò70s during that drought, and we urged listeners to shower with a consenting adult friend.”
“If you are writing in a more serious vein,” McKeown added, “for city dwellers it‚Äôs often landscaping. Going from hose water to drip irrigation, and choosing water-thrifty plants, can make a big difference.”
All of Kevin‚Äôs suggestions were informative but, inasmuch as I live in a high-rise apartment building, my preferred water savings tip of his was “showering with a friend.” Especially if the friend is Kate Upton.
Water conservation tips are at www.saveourh2o.org. Jack is at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth or¬† firstname.lastname@example.org.